Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook” as well as the Managing Editor of the RV Repair Club. Today he discusses a portable propane tank.
I have a 2018 Winnebago 29VE that has a quick propane connect for a grill at the back. Is it possible to take a portable propane tank with a regulator and a quick connect adapter and plug it into the adapter in the back to run the RV stove and refrigerator when the main tank is empty? —Alan
One thing that keeps me motivated is the questions that come out of left field and require a lot of research. The first thing I did to answer your question was visit the Winnebago website, as they have outstanding documentation schematics for everything. Here is the page showing your LP system:
Then I found the quick disconnect you are looking to connect to:
Then I clicked on the illustrated parts list for the actual connection:
Not a recommended use for portable propane tanks
What I was trying to find was a one-way valve or backflow prevention device that would not allow the flow of propane back through this device. There is nothing in the documentation that indicates this, so I went to my best LP tech source, Manchester Tank. Manchester Tank manufactures the ASME tank used on your rig, and typically helped design most of the components in the system. I got an answer that I suspected: “I would never recommend connecting any external LP storage device to that connection!” He recommended a device installed at the tank commonly referred to as “Extend-A-Stay”. More on that in just a minute…
So, I contacted my Winnebago tech contact and got the same disclaimer: “That is not its intended use and I would not recommend it.” He also cautioned that the shut off is at the ASME tank and could be dangerous.
However, there are many RVers that park their rigs at a campground permanently and need to have the onboard ASME tank filled, without needing to pack everything up and go to the LP filling station. Here is what is commonly referred to as Extend-A-Stay that can be installed at the ASME tank and have the 2-stage regulator connected to it.
You can find it on Amazon here.
Read more from Dave here.
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We’ve been f/t in our ‘07 Tiffin Class A for a decade now. Some of the agencies for which we’ve volunteered have provided propane, usually from a large fixed tank, and will have a service regularly come refill that tank. I put an ‘extend-a-stay’ fitting on our coach, and the propane service has simply run a hose from their tank to the fitting installed in our propane line upstream of the coach regulator. So our on-board regulator meters propane to our appliances from the large tank instead of our installed tank. It’s always worked fine, eliminating the need to move the coach to refill our on-board tank, plus no need to cart along a portable tank.
The questions out of left field are the most interesting.
I would talk with the manufacturer of “Extend a Stay” and see what they state about using it with an additional typical 30 lb. RV tank. They should have flow rates thru their fitting and what it can supply. My box that came from the manufacturer showed that type of installation.
That “extend a stay” is just a tap which lets you attach a small propane device (like a lantern or a gas grill) to the end of that hose, to feed from your onboard tank rather than a green bottle. It’s not something which would let you feed your system from another LP tank.
Don, exactly what I saw!! Sometimes i wonder if DAVE is paying attention to details. or even if he writes these articles! There are a lot of RV’s who do exactly what Dave recommends.
Thanks Jim Fisk! I stand corrected! Sorry Dave you are correct! After watching the video, it clearly show how the “extend a stay works”.
You saved me from saying the same thing.
You last gentlemen are completely wrong there…the “extend a stay” is for exactly the purpose for which the original question posed…the regulator is detached from the main ASME tank, the extend fitting goes on the main tank and then the regulator is replaced. There are two additional connections on the extend fitting….one so that portable devices with their own regulator can be connected during short stays at parks or campgrounds when the main RV tank is being used. The other connection is used with a portable or fixed tank during long stays…then your RV system can work off that supply through the on board regulator with the main tank shut off. This works when the main tank is being conserved or empty.
I have been using such a setup for four winters now where I run my RV from a 100 lb tank and save my main tank for a backup, thus permitting the ASME tank to last all winter.
Here is a good video on this.
Avoid Breaking Camp To Refill Your RV Propane Tank With This Handy Propane Fitting Bypass Kit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFslRIIX8so
It’s how I have run my set-up for years. The only limiting factor would be for large rigs with high demand equipment. We size gas lines in houses and businesses by total demand at the source and reduce down as we move out and drop equipment off. Another way of doing this is to do home runs back to a manifold at the source. Again the limiting factor is the line size where the “spare” source is attached.